13 July 2022 Toby D The Importance of Google Business Profile Reviews – Oakwood Theme Park Here at boxChilli, our digital marketing specialists are constantly keeping up with industry news and ways to get clients to the top of Google. One technique we LOVE to use is optimising Google Business Profiles (formerly Google My Business – GMB) and urging clients to get reviews on their profiles. Not only does it show potential customers that you’re a trusted and reputable business, but it also helps search engines boost rankings in their Map Packs. Being in the top spots for a geographical search term can have a HUGELY positive impact on impressions and clicks through to your website.Whilst, not one of our clients, Oakwood Theme Park in Pembrokeshire, Wales, may have been known as the worst-rated theme park in the UK a few months ago, thanks to the power of Google reviews, it is now ranking number 1 in both SERPs (Search engine results pages) and Google’s Map Pack for the search term ‘theme park wales’, as well as seeing a monthly traffic increase of almost 10,000. But how exactly did this happen? Carry on reading to find out how Google reviews boost visibility for businesses and why they are more important now in 2022 than ever before. Contents What are Google reviews? Oakwood Theme Park – the worst-rated theme park in the UK? Oakwood Theme Park – the best-rated theme park in Wales? What has this got to do with SEO? Builds trust and authority Good for search engine algorithms Summary What are Google reviews? Google reviews were introduced to provide competition to the likes of TripAdvisor and Yelp, and since 2016, it has been the ‘go-to’ reviews platform for consumers. Google reviews have been defined by the search engine itself as… “Google reviews provide useful information and help your business stand out. Reviews show up next to your Business Profile in Maps and Search.” Simply put, Google reviews provide a star-rating and insightful information from customers on Google Business Profiles. Oakwood Theme Park – the worst-rated theme park in the UK? As recently as March 2022, Oakwood Theme Park (learn more about Wales’ most famous theme park here) had a 2* rating on their Google Business Profile and 3* on TripAdvisor and was dubbed in viral videos as ‘the worst theme park in the UK’. Whilst this title gave them direct and organic traffic, as a business, it was for the wrong reasons. No one wants to be known as the worst, right? However, thanks to one of the largest groups in the UK – Sidemen, this literally changed overnight (we do seriously mean that). Oakwood Theme Park – the best-rated theme park in Wales? In a recent ‘Sidemen Sunday’ YouTube video titled ‘SIDEMEN $100,000 vs $100 THEME PARK’, one team (Tobi, Harry and Simon) visited Oakwood Theme Park in Pembrokeshire, whilst the other team (KSI, Vik, Ethan and Josh) embarked on the journey to the ever-popular Thorpe Park. Dubbed as the $100 option, Oakwood Theme Park has notoriously been known as a tourist attraction that some may say is the worst in the UK – this was backed up in the video with the group saying “it looks sad” and feels “like a zombie film”, but it now has a 4.5* rating on its Google Business Profile. How you may ask? Towards the end of the video, Tobi, Harry and Simon expressed their delight and were pleasantly surprised with their experience – their day was said to be “good” and the “rides were decent”. Following this, they encouraged their 15.3m subscribers to leave positive reviews on their Google Business Profile and their fans didn’t disappoint. With thousands of new reviews and 5* ratings, their overall rating jumped from 2.5* to 4.5* overnight. Sidemen encouraging subscribers to leave positive Google reviews (Image: Sidemen – SIDEMEN $100000 vs $100 THEME PARK) What has this got to do with SEO? You may be thinking, what has a Youtube group and video got to do with SEO? In this case, A LOT. With the huge increase in positive reviews, those looking for a theme park in Wales will find Oakwood Theme Park at the top of the results and with a strong review system in place, this will positively impact decision-making amongst potential visitors. At boxChilli, we always motivate our clients to do their bit and encourage their customers in leaving reviews on their Google Business Profile and any other review websites. In addition to getting reviews, we also advise businesses to respond to reviews (see our business owners guide on how to deal with negative reviews) as this can have a great impact on your customer service appearance, as well as showing search engines that you are active and listen to customer feedback. Having strong reviews can benefit organisations in several ways and it’s not an opportunity to be missed… Builds trust and authority The human brain looks for trust signals before making decisions and in this case, it’s a customer making an enquiry, booking or purchase. Showing potential customers that your business is reputable and trustworthy eases the consumer’s fears, which helps eliminate potential barriers to goal completions. Think about how many times you haven’t purchased an item due to the supplier having a 3* rating with 2 reviews. A lot right? Having a good amount of reviews (both positive and negative) will build trust amongst potential customers so that you can start building a relationship with your audience – having a good relationship with your target audience should be a primary goal for your organisation in 2022. Good for search engine algorithms Google has recently been putting a lot of effort and attention into their Google Business Profile platform (formerly Google My Business) and reviews are continuing to prove to be a ranking signal in their algorithm. In 2018, Moz carried out a study in which they found almost 10% of Google’s entire algorithm is driven by signals originating from Google reviews. As search engines develop and understand users, they aim to provide trustworthy and high-quality results in their SERPs and having a strong Google review system in place, directly improves national and local SEO results. This direct impact can be felt for Oakwood Theme Park, as they now feature at the top position for Google’s Map Pack and first in the organic SERP for the search term “theme park in Wales”. If this doesn’t drive the point home, they also rank the 8th position in Google Maps for the search term “theme park in the UK”. Not bad for the UK’s worst-rated theme park?! Summary Using Oakwood Theme Park as a somewhat case study to drive the importance of Google reviews for both local and national visibility, shows that even if your business is relatively small, having a strong Google review presence can dramatically improve your results on search engines. And with Google testing a new local search feature in the main web search results named ‘Find places through reviews’, this is evidence that Google is placing more emphasis on its Business Profiles. If you’re still not convinced, at boxChilli we work with some of Hampshire’s most recognised brands and for one of our clients, we drove a 3000% increase in impressions for ‘near me’ search terms over a 6-month period vs the previous 6 months, with the large proportion of this impressive result coming through creating a Google Business Profile that is unrivalled in the local area. Found this article interesting and want expert SEO help and advice? Get in contact with one of our team members to supercharge your presence on search engines and beat off your competition. Back to blog list About the Author Toby D Digital Account Manager Toby is an SEO Account Manager at boxChilli, who works with a range of clients to ensure their websites are generating optimal visibility. He has been within the marketing industry for 3 years and made the leap to focus on the SEO part of digital marketing as this is a huge part of a business’s wider strategy. In his spare time, Toby likes going to the gym and playing golf and in the winter you can find him shredding the slopes in the Alps!